November 1st, 2012

Stranger Than Fiction

The Savile affair casts a lurid light backwards over the history of the past half century. Last night Channel 4 News was interviewing people who'd worked at Broadmoor during Jimmy's incumbency. One of them remembered him serving beer to heavily medicated patients. Another remembered him ushering a star-struck teen into his on-site shag-pad. Putting him in charge (and yes, at one point he was chair of the task force that was running the place) had been Edwina Currie's wizard wheeze. One of the two interviewees made the obvious but inevitable crack about the lunatics taking over the asylum. Really, if you read this story-line in a novel you'd say it was impossibly far-fetched.

Salford's Finest

Today is Lowry's 125th birthday. I like Lowry. I think he's up there with the best artists of the 20th century. Jonathan Jones had a grudging piece about him in the Guardian this morning and people reacted by throwing shoes at it and quite right too. Lowry painted subjects that had hardly been tackled before in a style that was utterly distinctive- and if that doesn't make him a major artist I don't suppose I know what a major artist is. The bleak northern landscapes are what he's best known for but he did other things as well- portraits for instance and seascapes and weird fetishistic drawings (that he kept to himself) of girls in bondage gear. To see him in bulk- as you can at the Museum named after him in Salford is a crushing experience- but in a good way. They have a big canvas there called The Cripples which is one of the horridest things I know.